Lagoon Bay hangs in the balance

A decision on whether a controversial new golf estate at George in the Southern Cape is expected within the next two weeks as developers anxiously await approval from Western Cape Local Government MEC Anton Bredell.

The Lagoon Bay luxury golf estate is being developed by Werner Roux of Lagoon Bay Lifestyle Estate who claims that millions of rands will be invested in the property and that about 10 000 jobs will be created in the region during the 10-year construction phase.

Cornelius Esau, chairman of the George Leadership Forum – comprising members from George, Great Brak, Mossel Bay, Oudtshoorn and Knysna – has approached Roux in an effort to secure jobs for his members if the go-ahead for the project is given.

As a result, the developer and the forum has set up the Hoogekraal Trust that will receive 2,5% from the Lagoon Bay property sales. The money will be used for black empowerment initiatives in the area.

Esau says that should the project be turned down by Bredell then the forum would mobilise all its members to stage massive protests in the region because it believes that the project is essential for the development of the Southern Cape where unemployment levels are already high.

Esau denied that any forum members had been responsible for acts of violence or intimidation against the holiday home owners who are opposed to the development.

Almost two years ago holiday home owners at Glentana said that residents supporting the development had specifically intimidated them demanding that they withdraw their objections to the development.

The George city council has already approved the multi-million rand development and the Lagoon Bay project has received environmental approval from the out-going ANC local government member, Pierre Uys in 2009.

However, wealthy residents in Glentana who are opposed to the development took the matter to the high court for a review. Bredell told the developer he was unable to make a decision about the rezoning of the land until the high court had ruled on the matter.

Roux claims that R250-million has already been invested in the project but this funding has been held back until Bredell has issued a final ruling on whether the new golf estate can go ahead.

Without the decision the project is in danger of collapsing and this would have serious financial implications for those investors who had already ploughed millions of rands into the project.

The project will be built on 65 hectares of agricultural land and will include two Retief Goosen signature golf courses, about 900 houses, 320 single and fractional-title apartments, 150 flats and a new five-star luxury hotel.

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